by Will Schreiber

How, Cambodia?

Cambodia is the most impressive country I can remember traveling to.

Just one and a half generations ago, the Cambodian people were suffering under the regressive communist government of Pol Pot. Within four years, Pol Pot’s regime systematically murdered nearly 3 million people. “Better to kill an innocent by mistake than spare an enemy by mistake,” he said.

As if genocide wasn’t enough, his government sought to reset the economy to its “pure” state of farmers working the land.

He destroyed the textile machines, abolished the currency, torched buildings, and murdered anybody living in cities.

It’s hard to imagine how, forty years later, Cambodia is able to boast such beautiful architecture, cuisine, and infrastructure. There are cranes dotting the cities. Roads are newly paved. The markets are vibrant.

How have the people managed to remain so energetic, so positive, so able to forgive and move beyond the past?

In a Tuk Tuk en route to the “Killing Fields” outside of Phnom Penh

A Jeep parked outside a cafe in Siem Reap

A side alley in Siem Reap

Kandal Village in Siem Reap